Do you like to be alone a lot? Perhaps your friends tell you that you bottle things up. On the contrary, you are free with information, but are maybe a little slower to recognize the impact of your words. Does any of this sound familiar? If so, congratulations- you are human! Before I go on to describe the differences in introversion and extroversion, I am going to put in the first of many disclaimers: introversion and extroversion describe the perception of information. It is notabout: whether or not you like alone time, whether or not you like people, whether or not you feel popular, and whether or not you are shy. I have known extroverts that have been very shy, and introverts that have been very popular. It is important to rid yourself of preconceived notions in order to more accurately type yourself and others.
I) Energy: Extroverts, on the whole, gather energy from interacting with people. Perhaps you know someone who begins to laser down the beams of their house when they are stuck inside for too long. They begin to eat only microwaved food and they foam at the mouth. Chances are, this person is an extrovert (another disclaimer: stereotypes may intentionally or unintentionally be used in the introduction as a simple mechanism to help those new to MBTI to begin their quest to type themselves and others).
On the contrary, you may know someone who gets irritable, sleepy, or withdrawn when around others for more than a few hours, or when they perceive are with too many people at a time. This is a more apt description for our introverted friends. Introverts tend to need more alone time than extroverts, and also tend to be more private.
II) Pursuit of Interest: Introverts naturally tend to be deeper than extroverts (that isn’t to say that extroverts cannot be deep as well) and will likely pursue only one or two love interests during high school with extreme passion (most likely hidden), have only one or two job options they truly want to do, have only one or two hobbies that they pursue with fervor, etc. Extroverts, on the other hand, may have six or seven different hobbies, a large circle of friends (or those they are only lightly acquainted with), and be filled with countless ideas (this is especially true for ENxx’s).
III) Perception of Information: this topic is slightly more advanced, as it deals with the topic of how people process information. All introverts process information through an introverted function first (Ti, Ni, Si, Fi) as opposed to extroverts, who process information through extroverted functions (Te, Ne, Se, Fe). the “first” in emphasized because all of the types use introverted and extroverted functions, but in different orders. For this reason, I like to this of functions as a sort of filter for people (again, I will later go into more detail on the topic of functions (and some debates around them).
You now have two relatively simple tools (and one that requires a little more thought) that you can use in determining whether or not someone is introverted or extroverted. Later one, I will discuss the other dichotomies more in-depth.